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Sunday, May 13, 2012


Saturday morning was moving day and we caught the 11:00 train out of Dublin heading to Killarny.  Ireland is very manageable without a car.  In truth, you will see much more from a bus or train than you ever will in a car.  Most of the roadways are narrow and edged with shrubs making sightseeing difficult.  That, and you will have your eyes squeezed shut much of the time.  If you are the driver, and forced to keep your eyes open, you will arrive at the end of the day with cramps in your fingers from gripping the wheel so tightly and a blinding head ache from your passenger screaming.  Just saying.
     We needed to transfer trains in Mallow and it was easy peasy.  You grab your suitcases and step off of the first train, cross the platform and up onto the waiting train.  Slip your bags into the rack at the end of the car and then you make your way to an empty seat.  Mike and I seated ourselves, and looked forward to more beautiful sights.  But, first, we were forced to witness a real, honest to God, chick fight, involving three females.  It seemed that two of them had rushed to seats in the very end car (where we were seated) whilst the third member of their party was washing her hands and looking about for some paper towel.  She exited the Loo to find herself standing alone on the platform, her girl friends no where in sight.  She then got into the first car and did not spot her friends.  She worked her way down, going from car to car, until she FINALLY found her pals in the last car.  That is when the yelling began.  She stood in the aisle, shaking her finger at her two rude sitting friends.  She told them how panicked she was, how near she was to a nervous breakdown thinking, they had left her.  The other two were answering back that they ALWAYS rushed on to save seats and she should quiet down.  But, instead, the mad woman continued to ramp up her anger.  At the last second, just before what might have been fisticuffs, the enraged one turned to me and smiled.  Without a word of a lie, this woman will never see seventy-five again, nor will either of her friends.  With a huge smile, she giggled and asked me what I thought of her rude friends.  All I could think of to say was, "We're tourists and you're scaring us!"  So, after all three stopped laughing, they broke out a deck of cards, put their coins and match sticks on the table and began a lively game of something.  Every time one of them came close to raising her voice, she was told to hush before she scared the tourists.

      We arrived in Killarney without any further excitement.  What a charming, picture post card town!  Winding streets, pubs galore and cobbled walkways.  Mike had booked us into the Malton and it is spectacular.  It's an old railway hotel in the grandest of Victorian style.  It has the feel of being a guest in a manor home like Downton Abbey.  Domed ceilings, glass conservatories, wide staircases and quiet servants, oops, I mean employees, walking at triple time on crepe soles so as not to disturb the guests.  Our room was a large corner suite on the second floor with a view out two sides toward mountains. The grounds are park like with flowering trees and manicured lawns all the way around.  We unpacked and took a brief intermission before walking about to explore the town.  The only sounds we heard were the voices of dozens of kids who had been released by their parents to play outside while the adults lingered over the last of the First Communion luncheons in the dining room.  Mix in the sounds of the horse taxis as they smartly trotted about, delivering people and entertaining visitors.  Our dinner was grand, thanks again to Trip Advisor, where Mike does his research before we ever leave home.
     Sunday is race day!  One of the items on Mike's bucket list was to attend the racing meet in Killarney.  Remember, horses are to Ireland what breathing is to the rest of the world.  From our hotel and the heart of Killarney, it is only a ten minute walk to the race course.  Wait, did I say the race course?  This is a story of efficient use of land.  For all but a few days in May, a week in July and another later in the summer, the race course is the Ross Golf Club.  During racing, they suspend golf and put up the jumps.  What you find is a race course with fairways through the infield.  The rest of the year, you will tee off in front of the grandstands and play through the horse box (horse trailers) parking ground.  Race day was a beauty!  Sun and a good breeze barreling through the pass between the Purple Mountains and McGillicuddy's Reeks, straight at the race course.  Families everywhere!  Picnics well packed and children running serpentine between wooden tables and up to the rail and back.  The walking ring rail is packed with knowledgable betters elbowing about, trying to get a good look at their favorite.  Just before the race start, the horses and riders head to the track for a warm up gallop and to give the horses a look at the first jump.  As post approaches, the spectators move as a wave to the track side rail.  During the first race, I was standing next to two boys, about ten or twelve years old.  As the field approached the last jump, both lads were yelling and rocking atop their imagined mounts, "Come on Captain!  Come on Captain, Come on boy!"  I don't really know if Captain held on for them, but both boys sprinted the last thirty yards with the leaders, presumably to cross the finish line with THEIR horse.

     The rest of the afternoon, between races,  was filled with Irish music, step dancers in front of the grandstand, bookies calling out the odds to their clientele, tweeds, silks, fascinators, and children everywhere.  Glorious!
     Back at the Malton and a quiet four star dinner before retiring to our room to watch the end of The Players Tournament.  If Kevin Na holds on, I will be sitting pretty in our Sawmill Golf Pool!


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

How come you had good weather and I had crap? Are you praying to idols, again? Seriously, it blew the dogs off the road yesterday, and cold and wet with it. Blue skyies so far today. Glad you're enjoying Killarney. See you soon. Mary